Campus Auxilary Services renovates Red Jacket

Campus Auxiliary Services closed Red Jacket Dining Hall over the summer in order to prepare for renovations. To accommodate these changes, CAS has made modifications to other dining options on both Southside and Main Campus. According to CAS Executive Chef Jonna Anne, RJ is likely to remain closed for an extended period of time. The work on RJ has “gone out to bid, so it’s now in the phase where construction companies are looking at the process and if they want to get on the proposal,” Anne said. “The construction period is a 15-month period. Now it’s important to understand that—as everyone in construction knows—those are just the best guesstimates that we have so far in the process.”

CAS’s Marketing Manager Rebecca Stewart pointed to potential complexities in the construction process that could also cause delay. “When you’re dealing with the older buildings—and RJ is an extremely old building—there are always surprises during construction,” she said. “So they take that into account as much as they can, but when you’re doing a project at this level, you can never really be a 100 percent sure what they’re going to uncover during that demolition phase.”

Fusion Market, Mary Jemison Dining Hall and the Chowhound food truck have all made changes in order to make up for the lack of dining options on Southside. Fusion is open until 11 p.m. every day, MJ is open for dinner every day and late night Sunday through Thursday and the Chowhound provides breakfast, dinner and late night to students on Southside.

In addition to the longer hours, the restaurants have undergone some culinary changes. “Fusion has not completely changed its style,” Anne said. “However, there are some new sandwiches at Clio’s, Asada made a few changes to the ingredients and sizes of items and then at World Kitchen there’s been some new offerings and we moved Noodle Bowl to help with some things.”

Although Fusion specifically hasn’t changed much, Anne points to the larger number of alterations at MJ. “In MJ we have a completely new dinner menu,” she said. “[For] Bistro, we’ve pulled some Italian dishes from Italy to go there, and we’ve worked with some old favorites and made them newer and fresher. The Grill offers enhanced sandwiches and burgers for the dinner hour, and we’ll be seeing a new menu for Late Night after fall break.”

History and economics double major and sophomore Jatin Marwaha had his own take on CAS’s altered system. “I’d say they improved a lot in the quality of food and the standards for food,” he said. “I feel like they answered all of the complaints except for pricing, which I don’t think they really can fix.”

Along with the changes to existing options, CAS is planning to open a new convenience dining area at the Saratoga Commons. “The anticipated opening of [the store] is Oct. 11, right after fall break,” Stewart said. “The full name is Dash at the Commons. It’ll be a convenience style location, with a lot of grab-and-go options and a lot of very unique items that you can’t find elsewhere on campus.”

Anne went into greater detail regarding the unique items from Dash. “We’re looking to create some complete meals, meaning we’ll have some proteins, some vegetables that could just be steamed or heated and a starch component with either sauces or Dash’s very own line of spice blends,” she said. “Some of the other things we’re looking toward adding is Kombucha, high protein muffins, specialty soup mixes, some specialty sauces and frozen convenience Indian food.”

Stewart said she believes that renovating RJ will be valuable for the future. “Before there were renovations, Food Studio North was at about an equal level with RJ,” she said. “You can see the impact that renovation can have. It’s not just the look of the facility; it allows us to do so much more from a culinary standpoint and to offer so much more otherwise, so there’s real value that students can see from having a renovation done.”